Much has been written and much has been said in recent years about vision. It’s a word and a concept that we’ve all become familiar with, especially if we’re involved with the work of businesses or organizations. Vision, it is claimed, is the picture that an organization has or develops that provides a glimpse into the ideal future. To some, there is no future without vision. To others, vision is a valuable tool to aid in the planning process.
The connotation of vision is one of long-range thinking. I’d like to think about it differently and use a metaphor from the world of optometry. I think that vision must be both myopic (near-sighted), and hyperopic (far-sighted). When one sees the world with myopic eyes, he/she is able to focus clearly on those things which are a short distance away, but unable to focus on things which are in the distance. Conversely, through hyperopic eyes one cannot see clearly those things which are directly in front of him or her, but is able to focus on those things in the distance.
Two analogies can be drawn from this. First, good vision is characterized by the ability to see both those things in the foreground and those in the distance. If vision is limited to only trying to see into the distance, or into the future, we miss a very important piece – we miss the importance of what is happening around us, what is happening in the here and now. Although much of our time in the process of visioning is looking into the future, most of it is spent in the trenches of the seemingly mundane things of everyday life. The other thought here is that bad vision should be corrected. Whether the problem is near or far-sightedness, organizations should look at how they are seeing things poorly and correct them accordingly.
Bill Hybels in his book Courageous Leadership charges that “To squander vision is an unthinkable sin”. Our near and far-sightedness, our short and long-term vision should be regarded as both a gift and responsibility from God. 60 years ago a vision for Christian Education was born out of a scriptural understanding of our place in this world. Christian Education is a gift to us from God, but also a responsibility. Together we need to correct our eyesight so that the vision of Christian Education remains clearly in our gaze and sharply in focus.